22 June 2005 | Romafil
A wonderful movie filled with real emotion.
I completely fell in love with this movie. Every once in a while a movie comes along that touches your heart and soul. The Shadow Dancer is such a film. I saw it at the incredible ancient amphitheatre in Sicily at the Taormina Film Festival with an audience of some three thousand people and was completely swept up in the story... and I was not alone. Several times during the screening the audience broke out in spontaneous applause.
This film is for anyone who has ever dreamed. It follows the story of Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) a young writer who works for an English publishing house. Jeremy dreams of being a novelist but can't quite get past his fear of making the commitment needed to do so. He is sent to Italy to find a world-famous reclusive writer Weldon Parish (Harvey Keitel) and convince him to write again. What follows is a journey of exploration as Weldon tries to break Jeremy out of his shell, forcing him to experience life
but the sword cuts both ways as Jeremy tries to make Weldon face his own fears.
Keitel is absolutely fantastic as the older writer afraid he can never be what he once was. It is definitely his best performance since The Piano. He makes you laugh with his crazy antics, but let's you see deep enough inside him to realise it is all a front to hide the pain he feels at not being able to write.
Jackson in the much more understated role shows that there is life after 'Dawson's Creek'. The character of Jeremy is a long way off from Pacey Witter and he shows that he has made the move to the big screen with confidence.
Claire Forlani (looking absolutely gorgeous) plays Weldon's daughter and Jeremy's love interest. The chemistry between them works very well. Giancarlo Giannini is the village priest and is absolutely wonderful.
The look of the movie is stunning. Golden light and shadows in a little village tucked away in the Tuscan hills. Brad Mirman has created a world that invites you in and makes you feel at times as if you are there with them. The characters endear themselves to you and pull you into their lives. You laugh with them, cry with them, sharing each emotional turn in the story. There are scenes in the film where you definitely want to have a tissue handy and others where you may need a towel.
In my movie-going experience very few films have moved me like this one did. For me movies are about moments. If you have enough of them to take away with you your memories of a film are good. The Shadow Dancer is filled with many of these moments. It has only been a few days since I saw it, but the thoughts and images from the film have stayed with me. Surely, that's the best testament there is to a great film. (10/10)